Teacher in Rakhine Injured by Myanmar Military Shelling

By Min Aung Khine 5 February 2020

SITTWE, Rakhine State—A schoolteacher in Rakhine State’s Rathedaung Township was seriously injured after being hit by shrapnel from an artillery shell that fell on her house on Monday evening.

Daw Khin Htay Win, a 28-year-old primary school teacher of Konetan Village in Pyeintaw Village-tract was hit in the chest with shrapnel and rushed to the public hospital in the state capital of Sittwe.

“A naval vessel came down along the river shooting the right and left banks. I shouted at [my family] to run as the shells came down,” said Daw Hla Mya Thein, the mother of the victim. “I took my younger sister and rushed to the bomb shelter. My [elder] daughter was changing clothes after coming back from school. Then as she ran to the bomb shelter, she was hit by shrapnel.”

Family members of the victim and local villagers said the artillery shells came from two naval vessels that sailed down the Mayu River. They were apparently fired to prevent the Arakan Army (AA) from attacking the vessels.

“We saw the vessels come down along the Mayu River and that’s where the artillery shells were fired from. I don’t know how many times they shot. Half of my house was burnt down. Only after the firing was over did we dare to go outside and send my daughter to the hospital,” said Daw Hla Mya Thein.

Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun confirmed that there was fighting between the Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, and the AA but said on Tuesday that he still had no information about civilian injuries in the clash.

“The naval vessels were transporting troops on Monday. The AA troops attacked us with medium-sized machine guns and we returned fire but I don’t know about civilian injures,” said Brig-Gen. Zaw Min Tun.

However, AA information officer Khaing Thukha denied that there was any clash near Konetan Village on Monday. “There was no fighting [with the AA] at all there on Monday. The naval vessels on the Mayu River were just recklessly shooting.”

Upper House lawmaker U Khin Maung Latt of Rathedaung Township agreed with the AA information officer.

“That village is located on the border of Rathedaung and Buthidaung townships. We heard that the naval vessels fired shots in four directions. They should not shoot recklessly at civilian areas—it is illegal. It is also prohibited by the Geneva Convention. It is a crime,” the lawmaker told The Irrawaddy.

A 46-year-old woman and two of her family members were also injured by artillery in Pyeintaw Village on Sunday. She and one of her sons were seriously injured and are receiving treatment at Sittwe Hospital.

A woman was killed and another three men were injured by artillery shells in urban areas of Kyauktaw Township on Monday morning. The Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services claimed the shells were fired by the AA.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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